Draft plans which outline London Fire Brigade's four-year vision for making the capital the world’s safest global city have been given the green light.
Establishing a more challenging attendance time target, increasing terrorism response capabilities and placing fire stations at the heart of the community are just some of the proposals put forward in the London Safety Plan approved for consultation by members of London’s Fire Authority. There are no proposals to reduce the number of firefighters, fire stations or fire engines.
The draft London Safety Plan (LSP) is the first to be produced since both Anthony Mayer’s independent review of the Brigade’s resources and Lord Toby Harris’ review of London’s ability to respond to a terrorist attack. The Plan considers the recommendations from both reviews and looks to explore how they could be met.
The Brigade continues to meet London-wide average attendance time targets of getting the first fire engine to an incident in six minutes and the second in eight minutes.
The proposals look to improve on attendance times that are already among the best in the country by moving a fire engine from Kingston to New Malden fire station - a move that that would bring the borough of Kingston within their second fire engine average attendance time target. Also in a bid to help drive further performance improvements, the Brigade plans to get a fire engine within 10 minutes to any incident anywhere in London 90 per cent of the time. This is a change from the current standard of 12 minutes on 95 per cent of occasions.
Last year London firefighters attended 8,000 more non-fire related incidents than actual fires, showing the role of a modern day firefighter is a varied and ever changing one. The Brigade wants to throw open the ‘big red doors’ of their fire stations and allow the community to engage more with firefighters and free up facilities for community use. As well as placing stations at the heart of the community, we want to make sure that our staff have an inclusive culture in the workplace.
The Plan also proposes a review of how best to use its current fleet of 14 fire rescue units (FRUs) that attend a wide-range of incidents including road traffic collisions, flooding and chemical call outs. We will also look at setting an attendance standard for FRUs and have an in-depth look at its flooding capabilities.
The Paris attacks last year brought into sharp focus the ability of emergency services to respond to a marauding terrorist firearms attack (MTFA). The Brigade has a group of special officers who work closely with partners to train for and manage terrorist incidents. Over the lifetime of the Plan they would like to expand current capability and capacity to respond to MTFAs and will seek to reach an agreement with the Fire Brigades Union to do this.
Dr Fiona Twycross, Chair of the Fire Authority said: “This London Safety Plan reviews the work of the London Fire Brigade and how over the next four years it can keep London safe. As well as taking a fresh look at how fire stations and firefighters can best serve our communities, there are proposals to review how specialist equipment, such as fire rescue units are used and consider ways to improve all response times for all emergencies to make sure we are offering the best protection we can to Londoners. ”
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “Over the last 10 years the number of fires in London has been cut in half, largely due to the work of all our staff in promoting vital fire safety advice especially to those most at risk. The role of a firefighter in 2016 is a world away from when our great organisation was born 150 years ago and our Plan reflects the varied job we do everyday to protect Londoners.
“Maintaining among the best response times in the UK, expanding our roles at terrorist and flooding incidents and making our fire stations more inclusive and community hubs are key proposals for the Brigade over the next four years.”